Contrary to statistics and increasingly empty pews, “Most everyone goes to church!” This is based solely on my observation, no impirical study. If you look around, you will see that people are quite busy on Sunday mornings (Saturdays, too, for my dear SDA friends) – they may not be in a recognized church building, or doing churchy things, but they are doing rituals of worship:
They’re placing priority on some highly esteemed activity …
- Little League
- Many are at the local coffee shops
- “Sleeping in”
- “Eating out”
- Outdoor adventures – “Sunshine and fresh air!”
- Visiting loved ones in skilled nursing or assisted living settings
- Surfing/searching the Internet
- Watching movies – DVDs or streaming
The list goes on and on!
They’re seeking personal renewal of some kind …
- Getting away from the workplace
- Making time with family and friends
- Fixing or cleaning something at the house or on the vehicle
- Reducing the overwhelming “To Do” list
Okay, you’re right, these don’t constitute “church”, as we have it in our heads …. that place where religious people gather to sing songs about God, listen to long sermons, pray, eat way too much food, and talk with each other, briefly, before dispersing to go on with their business (e.g., make it home in time to watch the afternoon sports shows!) Oh, and don’t forget the offering = $$$. Got to have that to keep the church going!
If given the choice between “Church in the world”, or “Church in the building”, which one would you choose? I think the “Church in the building” has a lot to learn from the “Church in the world”. Maybe, the two could find a common meeting place? What might those intersections look like? The possibilities are probably endless!
How we worship shapes us. Our rituals, regardless of place and name, are indicators of what/whom we worship. Most everyone goes to church (of some kind!) – it’s just a matter of which location. Maybe, it’s time for “church” to go where the people are instead of crying that they don’t come to us?